I have a problem, and it’s one I think I share with a lot of you: I don’t know how to live without my phone. I never had a smartphone until just over a year ago, and now I can’t leave it anywhere for more than a minute or two without freaking out a bit inside. I wake up every morning and the first thing I do is check up on all of my social media. Right before I go to bed, I’m checking my social media. Every time I get a notification, I have to drop whatever it is that I’m doing and check it right away, even if it’s just an email that I’m not even going to look at before trashing. And it’s taking away from real life. I can be in the middle of studying, or a conversation with a friend, or working on a new blog, or pretty much anything can be going on, but as soon as I hear my phone go off, my attention is immediately ripped away.
I’m not saying that phones are totally evil or anything crazy like that. I’m not even saying we should give up social media. These are good things that help us stay in contact with people that we don’t get to see very often. But there’s something that I remember hearing a lot growing up that I almost never hear anymore: you can have too much of a good thing. It’s good to keep up with the people you care about, but the point of a text, the point of posting things online, the point of the entire internet, is to put things somewhere where you don’t have to check it right away. It will always be there later. But if you’re talking to someone face to face, that opportunity only lasts as long as you’re in the same room. So take advantage of it! Don’t be so caught up in what’s going on “out there” that you totally miss what’s going on right in front of you.
But like I said, I’m just as guilty – or maybe even more guilty – of this than you are. So what am I doing to change this? Well, to start, I’ve turned off the notifications for pretty much everything except for texts. I left badges on for my email, but the only way I’ll see notifications for any of my social media is by opening the app or going to my notification screen. Does this stop me from just going back to the app every 5 minutes to check if I have a new notification? No, but it does stop me from losing my focus when I’m actually working on something and getting somewhere with it, which is kind of the whole point of doing this.
So will my friends have to wait a little longer to hear back from me when they comment on my post? Yes. Will I have up-to-the-minute knowledge of what my friends across the country are doing? No. But what I will have is better focus on my work, my friends, and what God is doing in the moment. I’d say that’s a pretty good tradeoff. How about you?